Monday, June 24, 2024

Kate Hudson on Her Album — and Wanting to Play Stevie Nicks

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“The spirit of Penny Lane descends on everything in my life,” says Kate Hudson, whose strong debut album, Glorious, is no exception. It all goes back to her breakthrough role in 2000’s Almost Famous, she continues: “Cameron [Crowe] hired me because I love music, and I think the easiest thing to be able to see in that movie was how much.” Hudson had to overcome years of hesitation to make the album, with collaborators including her fiancé, Danny Fujikawa, and producer/co-writer Linda Perry, but the finished project is strikingly confident  — on the huge chorus of the title track, she manages to evoke Adele. Hudson recently spoke to Rolling Stone about her (quiet-until-now) life in music and more. (To hear an audio version of the interview, check our Rolling Stone Music Now by pressing play below or going to Apple Podcasts or Spotify.)

You’ve had a long career of putting things out into the world, but I would imagine this feels a little different than acting and releasing a movie.
Oh, my God, it’s a world of difference. There’s so much emotion attached to it and personal obstacles to overcome to get here. When people say it’s like giving birth to a baby, it really felt that way. It was incredibly emotional for me, but what was interesting was that I just didn’t have any fear. It was two and a half years of going through the process of making the decision to say, “You know what? Fuck it. I’m gonna do this. I have to do this.” And then by the time it was done, the fear went away of, like, what anyone would think because it’s just so personal. It’s so honest for me. I’ve never had that experience with anything creative. 

When someone is fully aligned with something that they really feel meant to do…
There would be less fear,  yeah. The irony of that is that with music I’ve had so much fear!  Part of the personal obstacles for me was like, music was always my first love — singing, writing, piano, and I’ve always been a campfire guitar player. The fear, for me, was around actually putting it out there. I really didn’t face that or think about that until Covid, until the lockdown. When I was younger, a lot of people in the industry knew I was musical and would say, “Let’s make a record. Let’s do this. Let’s do that.” And I always felt not ready. Something was stopping me, and I wasn’t reflective enough at the time to really think about it until I got older.

Here I was in my house writing all this music. I have a full setup. I’m singing all the time. And I was like, “Why am I so hesitant with something I love more than anything?” So then, relationships break up. You start reflecting on all your shit. And it was always fear of rejection. If someone rejected my songwriting, I don’t think I had the capacity to be ready for it. It took a lot of therapeutic work for me to be like, I’m ready to be rejected. I can handle it now. When Covid happened, it was like, “What am I doing? What is my life? What’s going to happen if I die? This will be my great regret ever, that I didn’t allow myself to share music. And even if it’s one person who loves it, it would mean so much to me.”

Had you been writing songs this whole time, like back to your teenage years? Or how has it worked for you? 
Yeah, really shitty ones. So many shitty ones… My thing was I only ever did it alone. I never had anyone help me with structure or focus on, “We’re doing a project. we’re going to make an album.” Linda Perry has such a powerful energy and [knows how to] get shit done. It was nice to have someone nudge me to not get in my head too much. We wrote 26 songs in two and a half weeks. It was a great partnership.

You hit a lot of different genres on the album, but it’s clearly an album made by someone who loves classic rock.
I do. I love classic rock. Yeah, I love classic rock. I love country. The reality is I love all kinds of music. But I love rock music, and I love women in rock. Linda Ronstadt, she’s my favorite rock star. Growing up, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Nicks.  But I just wanted to write something that felt pure for me. And I didn’t want it to feel like a defined genre. “Lying to Myself” feels like a late Eighties, early Nineties kind of pop song. 

It’s got that synth going and the beat. Yeah, absolutely.
And honestly, I took away some of the heavier songs on the album. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes next. It might get wild and weird. We’ll see. 

You do start out with “Gonna Find Out,” which is one of the more rocky songs on the album. And it does have that Linda Ronstadt covering the Stones vibe to it.
I’m such a Stones girl. Just give me Emotional Rescue and Sticky Fingers — and Exile on Main Street is my desert-island pick. Everything about the Stones makes me happy. And I know those guys well, and I love their whole thing. I love that they still get onstage in stadiums and are like, let’s see what happens. 

Someone’s probably going to say that song reminds them of the Black Crowes, too.
Listen, I mean, talk about a foundation of my life! I was a fan of my ex-husband before I met him. As I was with Allman Brothers and that whole kind of Southern rock thing. Jesus, “Whipping Post” was like the song of my childhood …. I remember what I loved about the Black Crowes when I was younger, before I fell in love with him — the naughtiness and the freedom in which they chose to create. I have a soft spot for people like that, even though they’re challenging and tough. I really respect uncompromising artists. Chris and I, we didn’t fall in love ’cause we liked opposite things. We fell in love cause we were into the same shit!

Both Chris and Matt [Bellamy] — who are very different artists, and I have such deep respect for both of them and their artistry — were so supportive of me as a musician and writing. They encouraged it. Chris and I, we sang together onstage sometimes. We would go do little things and sing together. He was so supportive. And Matt’s almost like my second manager: “You should be doing this and you should go do that.”

But people always go, “You really like those music guys.” And I’m always like, “They might like me, too!”  You know, there’s something about music. I’ve been in relationships where I can’t speak that language with someone; I can’t speak the language of music. And I think it’s a very specific thing. I don’t know if I could exist in a unit where I couldn’t share it properly…. For me, that’s why I always end up having babies with [musicians]. It’s like my pheromones are like, “We’ll make a good child. We’ll make a musical child.” 

it feels like music biopics are becoming the new superhero movies. There are so many happening now. Is there a dream musical biopic for you? If there was something that could come up, someone who you would want to play? 
I’ve got a couple. To me it’s also about the interesting life, and being able to tell that story correctly. I think Dusty Springfield is a really interesting story. 

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Oh, that’s a good one.
She’s one of my favorites and she was very shy. She had a lot of stage fright. Really fascinating woman. I think she struggled with being open about her sexuality. That could be a very powerful movie.

The ultimate is Stevie [Nicks]. But my family might, like, disown me if I ever got a chance to play Stevie. ‘Cause they’d be like, “Can we not go method?” I would probably go way too far into that character. I think for all girls who love rock, Stevie’s just our number one. Her whole life experience and the music. Fleetwood Mac, that whole journey from before Stevie to after Stevie? And her relationship with Lindsey?  It’s like a trilogy. There’s so much there. To me, that’s like the ultimate rock & roll story. 



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